I think it is mainly between me and Sam with Fabien as a possibility. Riders like Jack Kennedy and Michael Van der Mark are also good but they need to manage their speed at the end of races more, they are fast at the beginning but the end is a different story. Probably next year they will be excellent, they need more experience though.
When I watched the race at Monza after I had crashed, I was almost 100% certain that Sam was going to win because only Fabien had the speed and experience to beat him and he wasn't there.
At a personal level, how does the fact that you are a practicing Muslim fit in with the heavy demands made by racing?
I always pray 5 times a day and that's quite easy because you can do it when you are taking a break. I pray whether I am traveling, racing, working or relaxing.
Ramadan is a bit more difficult this year because it is in summer and you can't eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is about 5am and sunset is around 8pm, depending on the country. We get up at about 4 and have a huge breakfast and gather to eat at 9, and I have to say, eating a good meal at 9 after a days fast is one of the best things there is.
I always take part in Ramadan but if there is a race weekend I can do things a little differently because so many people are relying and depending on me to take part. In our tradition if there are difficult days like this, we can eat as normal and then fast at a later date. I simply can't fast on a race weekends because I have to respect the people who are working with me and also my body.
For example if it were Ramadan at Donington I would arrive on track on Wednesday and fast on that day, but Thursday to Sunday I would eat as normal and when I got home and Ramadan was finished I would do an extra 4 days to make up. So after this summer, I may have perhaps 12 days to make up.
I always prefer it when Ramadan is in winter when the days are shorter and colder and the race season hasn't started.
When interviewed about the danger of racing, you simply say 'Life is dangerous' is this part of an inshallah attitude?
Life is dangerous. In a way in life we are traveling, we're in flight and we don't have full control. A good example is my older brother, he was 24 years old and he was always on a motorbike racing or around town and everybody was scared for his safety. But he died when he was crossing the road carefully outside our house when a car hit him. We can't decide when life is taken from us.
When racing we wear leathers and a helmet and make the tracks as safe as possible and that is our responsibility as what we can do and the rest is in God's hands. My religion says that I have to do everything I can to protect myself and others but I can't make a decision about my fate.
In a way I feel that God led me to racing, in Turkey there is almost no motorsport and in 2001 in Turkish supersport there were only 4 riders; the 3 Sofuoglu brothers and one other.
From there it was so difficult and unlikely for me to make progress. I had to move to Germany and had a very difficult time there because my family had no money, but Yamaha Germany took me under their wing paid for language classes and provided me with a living.